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“Princess?” Sirius asked in shock.


“I thought you looked familiar,” Remus said quietly with a small smile.



“Princess,” Sirius repeated dumbly, “As in royalty?”


“Please…don’t…” Alex started, stumbling over her words. 


But Lily knew no end, “And your father had said you had gone away to school…”


“I have…” Alex interrupted, her eyes starting to fill with unwanted tears. 


“…which is why you weren’t at the ceremony a couple days ago and you were supposed to meet him and now-” Lily continued, seeming to gain momentum as she went on.


“STOP IT!” Alex yelled in frustration. Lily stopped and stared at her with wide eyes along with the three boys. “I left to get away from that! Don’t bring it up…please, any of it.”


Lily’s gaze hardened, “But now England-”


“I don’t care about bloody England!” Alex yelled standing up; too late in realizing she was giving herself away to people she knew less than an hour. Composing herself, she muttered quietly, “Excuse me” as she left the compartment, leaving a very stunned Lily behind.


Another silence overcame the small room as the boys’ eyes darted from the slammed door to Lily.


“Nice going, Evans, you’ve upset the princess,” James said.


“I don’t believe it!” Sirius suddenly exclaimed turning to Lily. “All these years of hearing from you what a stuck-up attention seeking brat this princess is, and she turns out normal- more than that, she turns out to be a witch! What do you have against her?”


“Nothing! It’s just she’s always getting into trouble and…” Lily tried to explain, feeling slightly overwhelmed by their defensiveness.


“Probably not intentionally,” Remus said. “I mean, she’s most likely followed or photographed everywhere she goes, I wouldn’t blame her for trying to get away from that every once in a while and having some fun.”


“Yeah, and it wouldn’t be the first time newspapers made up a bunch of rubbish based on some snapshot that they misread anyways,” Sirius said.


“Even so,” Lily persisted, “She’s a princess! She’s supposed to act like one!”


“Princess or not…she’s still a teenager. She deserves to have some fun,” James said, earning nods from both boys and just a pointed glare from Lily.


“I don’t see her brother doing that!” Lily huffed.


“Probably because he’s too much of a coward to rebel,” Sirius said, knowing full well that Lily, (along with at least half of the muggle-born female population at Hogwarts) was practically in love with the muggle prince.


“He is not! He’s respectable and…” Lily blushed, trying to find words to cover.


“We know Evans, we know,” Remus whispered with a smile. “But then again, he’s not a wizard, is he? Or first born for that matter. He probably never experienced the same amount of attention or stress or problems or pressure or anything like Alex has, hence has never felt the need to…as Sirius put it, rebel.”


Lily gaped. Remus, head boy, the logical one, the one she usually agreed with, was defending Alex too. Turning on her heel, she breathed a quick “Forget it, this is hopeless,” and walked out.


“Hey, don’t spread it around!” Sirius yelled just as the door slammed again.


“Bloody hell, that didn’t go too well, did it?” James said as he slapped a hand over his forehead. “I’m supposed to be getting Evans to fall for me, and now she probably just thinks I’m in love with the princess!”


“It’s not that bad, Prongs,” Remus said, “I mean, this time, you were right and she was wrong so she’ll have to come over to your side eventually…”


“…which means,” Sirius continued, “She’ll realize how brilliant and mature you are for seeing that before she did.”


“You think?” James asked hopefully.


“Sure,” Sirius replied, “And if that doesn’t work, you can just go back to professing your undying love for her, asking her out, and getting slapped every other day.”


James only sighed in reply as he turned his gaze toward the window. Sensing another ‘Evans rant’ coming, Remus quickly stood up and said, “I reckon I should find Alex and tell her to change. We should be at Hogwarts soon,” and left the compartment, before Sirius could even offer to do it himself.

Remus smirked with satisfaction as he heard James start on about how he and Lily were destined for each other, and a deep sigh of frustration on Sirius’ part. Not that he didn’t support his friend, but one couldonly listen to the same speech so many times, and seeing he’s already heard more than enough throughout the past six years, he deserved a break once in a while too. Usually it was Sirius who escaped, Well not this time, Remus thought. Plus, talking to Alex should be fun.


Walking down the aisle of the train, he wondered where she might have gone off to. He was about to check the loo, when he figured Alex wasn’t the type of girl to run to a smelly loo and cry about her problems. No, Alex would be somewhere else. So he kept walking, right to the end of the train, and not having found her anywhere, he tentatively opened the back door of the caboose leading outside.


And there she was, leaning against the railing, looking out to the sunset the train was traveling away from. Deep in thought, she didn’t even hear him come up to her.


“It’s a nice view, isn’t it?” he whispered, as he leaned against the rail next to her.


“Mmmh,” Alex mumbled, in a bit of a daze. Then, as if realizing where she was, she turned to find Remus standing next to her, “Oh, it’s you.”


“No need to sound so enthused about it,” Remus laughed. 


“Sorry,” she mumbled, and Remus noticed how her character changed from when they first met. Bright and seemingly carefree, she was now the complete opposite. But he couldn’t also help but notice how she nevertheless looked just as gorgeous, even when looking depressed. “How did you find me?”


Remus shook his head to snap out of his little reverie, and putting on his best grin, replied, “It’s a sixth sense of mine, finding distraught women and rescuing them from their troubles.”


Alex smiled, “Well aren’t you just an adorable little knight in shining armour?”


“I try,” he replied nonchalantly, shrugging. A comfortable pause was on the verge of settling in, but Remus went on, “Do you want to tell me what’s wrong?”


He found himself surprised to see Alex look up at him, shocked. “You actually want to know?” Alex asked quietly in disbelief, “You’ll…listen?”


“Yeah, of course. Why wouldn’t I?” Remus said, arching his eyebrows.


“I don’t know,” Alex replied, still in shock. “It’s just, no ones ever really asked me that before…and I know it sounds strange, but it’s just a bit bizarre for me, you know? Look at it this way, I’ve known you for about…what’s it been now, 2 hours? And already you’re being a better friend… well, better than my family even.”


Remus opened his mouth to say something, but found that he had no words. He couldn’t even begin to understand the complexity of the beautiful, troubled brunette standing before him. “Look, either way, you’re my friend now, and I’m here for you whenever you need me, alright?”


She looked at him, and he felt himself melt inside at the intensity of the look she was giving him with those astounding eyes. She smiled, and he felt himself, if at all possible, melt even further, especially as she whispered, “thank you”. Her voice rang through his ears, and he would have been content to just stand there and look at her, waiting for her to start talking and to listen to her, But as she looked out toward the sunset again, he realized she wasn’t going to, and was all of the sudden reminded why he had come to find her in the first place.

He cleared his throat, “So…?”

“You’re persistent, aren’t you?” 


“I try,” he answered once again, and seeing her smile at him he felt as if the world stopped turning.


Taking a deep breath, she whispered looking at her hands- not daring enough to meet his eyes, “It’s just that I’m wondering if it was a mistake coming here. Maybe my brother was right…and my dad for that matter. Maybe I should have stayed home.”


“Well, it’s too late now, isn’t it?” he said, and Alex turned to look at him. “What’s done is done; you can’t dwell on whether or not you made the right choice, because you can’t fix that now. But since you’re here, might as well make the most of it, then in time you’ll see if it was a good choice or not. You know, the whole being-optimistic-and--not-sulking spiel."


She couldn’t take her eyes off him, and quite frankly couldn’t believe how much sense he made. She looked into his eyes, and found herself getting lost in their softness. She looked deeper, trying to find the secret he was hiding, and at the same time feeling as if he could see past the princess, really see who she was. As the wind blew some of his hair into his face covering his eyes, she finally averted her gaze, and Remus let out a breath he didn’t know he was holding. “You’re brilliant, Remus”.


He smiled, “I tr-”


“I know, I know,” she laughed.


“So what will it be?”


“I guess I better give it a shot, huh?” Alex said, “Wouldn’t be able to show my face back at Buckingham if I didn’t.”


“Excellent!” Remus answered, ignoring the last part of her statement- that was another mystery for another day. “We better get back then. You need to put your robes on before we get to Hogwarts and…” he stopped as he felt a soft touch on his arm. “Hmmm?”


“Thanks.”


“Anytime,” he replied opening the door and letting her through. “You do owe me one though, now.”


She laughed, “Oh, is that how it works? I thought ‘you’re my friend and you’re here for me anytime’?”


“Well yeah,” he said, noting how her mood clicked back to the way before Lily interrupted, “but nothing’s free.”


“I’ll make sure to keep that in mind the next time you try to be chivalrous and help me out.”


“And I’ll start a tally to make sure you don’t cheat me on the favours,” Remus laughed as Alex gasped, looking very taken aback.


“A princess? Cheat? Why, I never heard of such a thing! How rude!” Alex mocked, sarcasm dripping from each word, “Honestly, don’t you know anything about me?”


“Well sure I do,” Remus said in mock indignation, “You’re rebellious, spontaneous, gorgeous, a spoiled attention seeking brat, gorgeous, a great dancer and singer, did I mention stunningly gorgeous?”


“Yes, but you missed smart, funny, responsible…”


“Responsible?” Remus asked in feigned shock, “honestly…”


Alex shrugged, “It was worth a shot. I must say though, I’m impressed. How do you know all that anyways?”


“Lily Evans. She kept us posted on all your misdoings. She was quite a fan, you know? Practically worshipped you, that is, before you…er…turned bad.”


“I never really ‘turned’ bad, it was more of my ‘bad side’ showing through the last couple of years,” Alex said laughing, feeling unusually at ease.


“Well, at least it made Buckingham interesting,” Remus answered, receiving a playful punch from Alex in return. “Seriously though, don’t mind Lily. She’ll come through eventually. She’s actually a really great person; I reckon she was just a bit surprised to find you sitting there. And if that doesn’t work, you can just bribe her with a personal audience with your brother and all will be forgiven.”


“I’ll hold you to that,” Alex replied smiling, as she re-entered the compartment.



 



 Author’s Note: I’m back! Sorry for the longer than usual wait, but alas, I have unfortunately discovered the joy of midterms…
You guys are great! Thanks to all reviewers and readers. I hope you liked the chapter, it goes out to all Remus fans out there.
And of course, where would I be without my fabulous beta! 


Please review!


ps- If anyone was interested, I’m posting a DM/HG one-shot soon, “By a Fraction”.


Also, I have created a Meet the Author thread at the HPFF Forums, so if you have any questions, comments or whatever, feel free to post it there.

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